The Fairbanks Ice Dogs defeated the Kenai River Brown Bears 2-1 on Friday in Fairbanks in North American Hockey League action in front of 2,242 fans.
The Ice Dogs’ second straight win over the Bears moved Fairbanks to 20-8-7, good for second place in the West Division.
The Brown Bears fall to 18-12-1. They are one point out of fourth place in the West.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Bobby Murphy scored on assists from Sean Muller and Raymond Stenehjem.
“We had an excellent first period, a bad second period, and probably a fairly even third period,” Kenai River coach Oliver David said.
David said one bad period is enough to lose to the Ice Dogs, and that was the case Friday.
JT Osborn and Tayler Munson scored to give the Ice Dogs a 2-0 lead. Nobody scored in the third.
Fairbanks outshot Kenai River 47-25, including 25-9 in the second period.
The Brown Bears took six penalties on the night, compared to two for Fairbanks.
“Each time we were building momentum, a couple minutes later we’d take a penalty,” David said. “I don’t blame our players completely. I think the officiating was very bad tonight, not only in terms of penalties, but in terms of missed icings, offsides and all sorts of issues.”
David said the highlight was killing off 5 of 6 penalties. Fairbanks has the second-best power play in the league, but has just one goal on the power play in the last three games against the Bears.
Austin Severson made 45 saves for Kenai River.
“Most of the shots were not life-threatening shots,” David said. “A lot, he saw and tracked pretty easily.”
The team dressed just 17 skaters instead of 18 because the Brown Bears have two injuries and two open roster spots.
One spot will be filled soon. Marek Hemsky, a forward from the Czech Republic with a cousin who plays for the Edmonton Oilers, is expected into Anchorage on Saturday. He will fill goalie Paul Bourbeau’s roster spot. Goalie Garrett Patrick is with the Bears for a two-week trial.
Ice Dogs 2, Brown Bears 1
First period — 1. Kenai River, Murphy (Muller, Stenehjem), 12:42. Penalties — Fairbanks 1 for 2:00.
Second period — 2. Fairbanks, Osborn (Levin, Rose), 5:25; 3. Fairbanks, Munson (Osborn, Levin), 19:29. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00.
Third period — none. Penalties — Kenai River 3 for 6:00; Fairbanks 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal — Kenai River 8-9-8—25; Fairbanks 14-25-8—47.
Goalies — Kenai River, Severson (47 shots, 45 saves); Fairbanks, Fons (25 shots, 24 saves).
Power plays — Kenai River 0 for 2; Fairbanks 1 for 6.